Reasons, Justification, and Evidence I

Alan Millar

in Reasons and Experience

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198242703
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680540 | DOI:
Reasons, Justification, and Evidence I

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This chapter develops an account of reasons and justification designed, among other things, to prepare the way for the discussion in Chapter 4. It presents an account of derived justification according to which a subject's belief that p derives its justification from his beliefs that q, r,…only if (i) the belief that p is based, in a causal sense, on the beliefs q, r,…; (ii) there is a rational connection between the proposition that p and the propositions that q, r,…; (iii) the subject's basing his belief that p on his beliefs that q, r,…is an exercise of competence on his part with respect to the patterns of inference which underwrite the rational connection between the relevant propositions, and lastly, (iv) the subject legitimately takes for granted that q, r,…Condition (ii) is fulfilled only if the propositions that q, r,…constitute a so-called unconditional reason for thinking that p. This will be true if the proposition that p may be inferred from the propositions that q, r,…without further ado. Unconditional reasons should not be conflated with conclusive reasons. In the sense intended here a set of propositions constitute a conclusive reason for some proposition if and only if it is impossible that the latter be false and the former true. Not all unconditional reasons are conclusive.

Keywords: reason; justification; inferential competence; beliefs; unconditional reason

Chapter.  10479 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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